Archive for August, 2013

Of God, biblical marriage and Duck Dynasty

sbctoday_new_logo_550

by Norm Miller

Despite their camouflage attire, the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty can’t hide. And people are flocking to DD gear because of the reality show about that Louisiana family, whose ratings soar heavenward, well above its groundling peers.

USA Today reported that nearly 12 million viewers tuned in for this season’s premiere, setting a record for the “nonfiction (reality) show.”

Why is the show so popular? There is a variety of reasons; but for many, it must be the Judeo-Christian ethic that makes the diff.

Sure, the antics, admittedly contrived, provide comic relief from the humdrum 8-to-5 grind. But there is so much more that appeals to the human spirit, and that is the spirituality of the Cajun clan. Their conflation of ethos and pathos is a winning combination. Any pastor worth his salt knows (and practices) this.

Numerous interviews reveal the feathered family’s commitment to the things of God, and their insistence that such a message is included in the show. Those same interviews reveal how much of the spiritual emphasis drops to the cutting room floor. Nonetheless, in a venue that is virtually bereft of morality, the Robertsons have brought a refreshing Spirit back to TV. (And, yes, the capital “S” on Spirit is intended.)

A wedding ceremony nearly 50 years overdue highlighted DD’s season opener. Patriarch Phil and Matriarch Kay celebrated their wedding anniversary with outdoor, riverside nuptials; and because Phil and Kay are Jesus followers, their half-century marriage is testimony that the holy union is everything it’s quacked-up to be.

The morality of the marital ceremony heightened the emotion of the moment. Even the toughest of swamp men had lumps in their throats at episode’s end. One could not help but recall other such meaningful events in their own lives.

The overt nature of the televised ceremony was a not-so-subtle HOORAY! for traditional marriage, which statistically is falling like a mallard full of buckshot.

Emblematic of American society and the ratings data, family and friends of all ages attended the on-camera event. Smiles, tears and a few jokes punctuated the ceremony.

SBCToday applauds the Robertsons for their unabashed and unashamed commitment to Jesus Christ. Hallelujah for a family who has gained international attention by honoring the Savior. May their tribe increase.

God has honored the Robertsons for their faithfulness and their witness as millions of people watch their show. Doubtlessly, some watch it because they want, whether consciously or otherwise, what the Robertsons have – a sense of significance.

The Robertsons would be the first to tell you that their significance isn’t found in dead presidents ($200K/episode to split among themselves), but is found in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Indeed, one hears more than duck calls on the show. One hears the call of the gospel reverberating as it encourages those who have answered it, and challenges those who haven’t.

May God continue to bless the Robertsons. And may God continue to use Duck Dynasty to point people to Himself.

 

 

Hearing the Gospel’s call

Now it's your turn to tell the world what God is doing in your church.

West Main Baptist Church
Alexandria, Tenn.
Ben Simpson, pastor

Like most any child, 8-year-old Maggie enjoys playing in her kiddie pool. On a recent Saturday, as she was splashing around, Maggie felt the Lord saying to her, “Maggie, it’s time to trust Jesus as your Savior.” The calling from the Lord to salvation was so clear and compelling that she immediately got out of the pool, knelt down beside it, and all by herself surrendered her life in faith and love to Jesus. She then ran inside to tell her mommy what had just happened. Maggie had heard the gospel numerous times over the years from her parents, teachers, and pastor, but on this particular day, she received it.

As she testified to me just before Sunday School the next morning about the experience, her little voice cracked with emotion as she was overwhelmed by the grace of God. What a sweet and fitting thing it was when later, at the end of the preaching service, she came forward during the invitation as the congregation sang “Speak to My Heart” to unashamedly tell the world what God had done for her. He did indeed speak to her heart. Lord willing, we’ll baptize her soon.

West Main Baptist Church takes seriously the evangelization of the children God has given our congregation. In fact, we have what we call our “Watchcare List,” which cites the names of the children of our active church members who have not yet trusted Christ. We regularly pray for their salvation and make the gospel a central point of our children’s and youth ministries. If this is not the practice at your church, I would encourage you to start such a watchcare list, and to regularly pray for the salvation of church members’ children.

 

Forgiveness, an SBCToday devotional thought

Norm Miller

Forgiveness

“… Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? …” Mt. 18.21 (NASB).

by Norm Miller

The old expression “A blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally” might be exemplified by Don Henley, singer/song writer for The Eagles. Henley’s song, “The Heart of the Matter,” provides telling commentary about the world’s perception of love, heartbreak and recovery. Henley indeed found an acorn. The remedy for broken-heartedness is forgiveness. Henley writes: “But I think it’s about forgiveness—forgiveness—even if, even if you don’t love me anymore.” There it is in a nutshell. In spite of how someone feels about you, forgiveness is the key to your healing after someone hurts you.

Matthew 18 is a classic passage on forgiveness. Few seem to recall the Lord’s words in Matthew 5, however, maybe because the former focuses on the one who offended you. The latter is more personal; it focuses on you as an offender. In fact, the Matthew 5 verses intimate that worship is inhibited or perhaps impossible if we don’t first seek forgiveness from someone we’ve wronged.

“These times are so uncertain / There’s a yearning undefined / … / How can love survive in such a graceless age?” Henley accurately states, except for that last phrase. This is not a graceless age. It is, however, an age filled with people who need grace, God’s grace. God’s forgiveness is an expression of heavenly grace—getting something we don’t deserve.

If a secular icon such as Henley can stumble onto a portion of God’s truth about forgiveness, shouldn’t the ones who have God’s Truth living in them lead the way in expressing the grace of forgiveness?

DIG DEEPER: Read Mt. 5.23-24 and 18.21-22. Note carefully the interpersonal relationships. Can you determine what God is trying to teach us? How important to God is forgiveness among His children?

© Norm Miller

 

 

 

In Christ Alone

Tim Rogers

Pastor Tim Rogers offers his RESPONSE to the recent flap about Christ’s atonement as related to changing the words to the song, “In Christ Alone.”

 

God uses sermons on repentance

Now it's your turn to tell the world what God is doing in your church.

Dan Nelson, pastor
FBC Camarillo, Calif.

“Praise the Lord for the phenomenal response to the sermon series I am preaching on repentance. We have baptized three so far, and we have two more candidates soon to be baptized. Church attendance also has increased. On every Sunday since I started the series, we have seen someone either join the church, or come forward for salvation or in repentance and re-dedication. One man walked the aisle on only his second visit to our church. While under deep conviction, he asked me, “Where is the nearest place I can kneel?” He is saved, but he had to get something right with the Lord.

Another man visited our church yesterday, and he told me, “I have never heard such preaching on repentance. It is so needed in the church today. I will be back.”

So, instead of the preaching on repentance repulsing people, God has used it as a divine magnet to draw people to Himself.

My messages out of the New Testament have been on individual repentance while the ones from the Old Testament will be more on corporate repentance. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with those.

Thanks for all your help, SBCToday.